Archive for the ‘Tinfoil hat’ Category

Sharing and the twilight zone

Monday, September 14th, 2020

So, this is going to be another of those multifaceted and meandering posts. It will definitely fall at least somewhat under the tinfoil hat heading.

First of all, I was having a conversation with a somewhat right leaning friend and it underlined for me, not for the first time, how scary the situation we’re in is. Numerous people on the right have been trying to stir up fear and anger over a number of things, and they’ve clearly succeeded. The willingness of the right to publish utter fiction and claim it as fact has gotten to be a big problem. No, antifa isn’t starting fires, no, antifa isn’t marxist, no, BLM isn’t marxist, yes, it is possible to be in favor of a increased level of socialism without being marxist.

(I’ve talked about elsewhere how we need a new -ism, since everything we’ve tried so far doesn’t work. Lately I’ve been thinking about how the command and control aspect of any society needs to have a whole lot of active protection against corruption because every human enterprise seems to, entropy-like, move steadily more towards corruption)

 

Anyway, one thing the right loves to do is conflate the social safety net democracy ideals of Bernie with the authoritarian ideals of i.e. CCP, CCCP, etc. I know it’s incredibly tempting to mix the resource allocation system and command and control axises – after all, most people can’t think about there being several different things going on here – but it is, ultimately, a lie – and part of how the powers that be get away with a lot of the awful they get away with.

 

It’s funny that so many find the idea of socialism so frightening since at it’s root, all it is is the idea that we share. Of course, there’s a lot of places where earth is dramatically against sharing that it would be a far better place if it was for sharing. Think about how many relationships have ended because of ‘cheating’ – we are wired to fall in love more than once, but the very stupid memetics this place runs on try their hardest to program us to think sharing is bad – and not just in a sexual partner sense. This whole anti-immigrant thing is a dramatic case of us being terrified at the idea of sharing. It’s really rather sad.

 

I was thinking while I was doing some experimenting with chord progressions earlier today how if I were running a country that had a whole lot of people wanting to move to it, i’d be tryign to come up with the technologies to welcome those people with open arms, and not to have any shortages. However, we seem to love the resource allocation system of idiocy and we’re determined to make sure Earth doesn’t turn into a utopia no matter what – so we skid steadily more dystopic.

 

Anyway, one of the thoughts I wanted to talk about is that I talk a lot about how we have enough computing power in our minds to render reality out of whole cloth, and I talk about wanting to be able to control this so I can experience specific realities – and I talk about this as being one of the forms of real wealth that is far more valuable than dollars (with the other form being friends) – but, one possible explanation for the steadily more bizarre relations between the left and right is that in fact all of us are always in realities rendered by our minds and just trading data back and forth to appear in each other’s experiences, and the right is dreaming a dramatically different dream than the left. It seems believable to me that there are in fact two different realities, and the people being led by i.e. Rush and Trump etc are living in a different reality than I am. It’s possible that lies *create* new realities, even, especially if enough people believe them.

 

Anyway, the whole situation is rather scary.. I wonder what my friend would think if he could see the Black Lives Matter flag I fly. Probably he would not be surprised since I have told him I’m to the left of Bernie. (I literally want to create a new resource allocation system – actually i’d probably create several and then have each state vote on which one they’d like to test out, and then let states change as it became clear which one was the winning system)

 

 

America, land of the thug

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

So, one thing that I can’t help but notice is that America’s police forces are basically amoral thugs. The fact that they were willing to enforce things like the marijuana laws was a good indicator of this, but a better indicator is that they repeatedly kill innocent civilians and they have no problems with this.

This fits in nicely with America’s military, which is in the business of killing any innocent who gets in the way of our state religion (capitalism) or our access to oil. It’s obvious that there are better options than oil for transportation energy storage, but the american dollar and the wealth of a bunch of old white men is tied to oil, so, murder more! Besides, the voters like seeing the houses of others blown up on the nightly news. It makes them feel patroitic.

And, of course, there’s a very effective brainwashing system in place selling the idea that all this thuggery is good. Shows like Cops. A never-ending series of lies to justify the use of deadly force by both the police and the military.

It doesn’t take much research, if one is willing to be honest, to discover that when Islamic countries talk about America as worshiping ‘The great Satan’, they have a pretty good case they can make. (Of course, Jehovah is also a murdering bastard.. in general our spiritual systems do not seem to be based around people you would want to know, with the possible exception of Jesus himself and Siddhartha).

Why don’t people stop it? I don’t know. Increasingly it looks like we’re willing to fight back when the cops murder innocents, which I find encouraging, but we’re not doing a very good job of targetting. People, teh goal is to destroy government buildings that belong to the criminal justice system, not random, useful government buildings, and definitely not private businesses.

I understand that it’s hard to think rationally when you’re angry, and I also understand that anger is a reasonable response to being hurt, and having our police murder innocents without consequence (aside from maybe some paperwork) whenever they want definitely falls under “being hurt”. Living in fear of our police because they will thug around whenever they want and break bones and murder if anyone doesn’t “respect their authoritah” is also something I’d consider “being hurt”. Of course, the conservatives are all cheering this on. Yay! Cops should kill more innocent citizens! And break more bones!

Ansible

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

So, I think I’ve talked about this before, but I thought I’d mention it again.

We have 10^11 neurons. 100 billion of them – and each neuron is made up of many, many atoms. A conservative guess might be a hundred thousand. Each atom has a electron that forms a probability cloud that is the most dense close to the nucleus, and asymptotically approaches zero as it moves away from the nucleus, but it’s never really zero.

We are all connected, we are all inside each other. We can’t escape this.

At the same time, our experiences of each other can never really be the territory, but must be the map. We experience avatars of other people, because our experience of the other people is happening inside our heads even though the other people are in fact real beings that are out there in whatever world or worlds we inhabit.

This is all before we even start to open the can of worms marked ‘multiple worlds theory’ or ‘multiple dimensions’.

P.S. Money sucks

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

So, I know I’m repeating myself here, but the whole COVID thing really does underline how we need to be more agile in our thinking regarding resource allocation. At the end of the day we’re likely to get millions of people killed (by the end of this) and a large number of these deaths are because we can’t let go of the idea of money and we can’t just let people have the things they need for free until we’re on the other side of this pandemic.

Now, I understand that a lot of this is that a number of evil ideas are pervasive on earth.. and I know that various right wing friends of mine are horrified at the idea that anyone could get anything for free and are convinced that this would lead to us all starving because no one would work. I think this shows a lack of understanding of human nature, although it may be true that humans should go extinct and be replaced with something else because it may be true that we simply suck too much to continue existing. We certainly are one of the most destructive to other life forms species to ever live – one of the problems we have is that we don’t have any natural predators that can really take us on, and we breed like rabbits, so we’re going to overload the ability of the planet to generate resources sooner or later unless we change the way we think about the world. I’ve made the suggestion that we should start creating software (in the form of neurological interconnects) for our minds such that we can experience having anything we want while not actually placing any load on the planet for physical resources at all – once we learned to do that we could likely also become immortal by moving the software that was us from body to body, and we could do things like using hypervisor-like structures to do the necessary work to keep everyone fed while also providing the conscious experience whatever we wanted.

And we may or may not get there, however, in the meantime we still have this problem that we have a resource allocation system that is fragile as hell. Pandemic? economic crash. Volcano? Economic crash. Flood? Localized economic crash. It also encourages stupid decisions – like building stickbuilt houses in flood areas when we could build houses that could survive flooding without damage – we could also build fireproof houses, cars that need virtually no maintenance, and a number of other similar things but people are too in love with a system where everyone must work. I personally think the system where everyone must work is awful and should be torn down.. it’s one of the many many things about Earth I would criticise. But perhaps I’m just too negative in my thinking and Earth is actually perfect and providing everyone but me with what they want and need.

(Or perhaps not.)

A God of Love

Monday, July 6th, 2020

So, sometimes I think I should sit down and do the thought experiment of figuring out, OK, I’m certain that no religion I’ve ever seen describes a god of love, but I can describe sets of circumstances that could leave us with a god of love, or even a utopian God, and still leave us in our current situation.

It’s a interesting thought experiment to think what such a diety might be like. It’s also a interesting thought experiment to think about what I think a utopia for me would be like. It’s where I ended up with the thought that everyone would be connected to the same network but everyone would be running different software mapping the rest of folks into their conscious experience because that’s the only way that everyone could get the right utopia for them, given that one man’s heaven is another man’s hell.

As I’ve said, I can come up with many reasons that we could have the best god (or system administrator anyway) that one can imagine and still have the experience we’re having. Some of the more obvious ones are that we wanted a challenge and so this world is deliberately suboptimal, or that there’s something wrong with our own neural mapping that is creating our conscious experience but that God wants us to have the freedom to be who we want to be and therefore is allowing us to fix that mapping ourselves. One can also consider the artistic values of a less-than-perfect (but still pretty awesome in a lot of ways) world.

Obviously one of the people I talk to in my inner world regularly is a big fan of the idea that it’s the neural structure inside our minds that maps our senses to our conscious experience that controls whether we experience heaven or hell. I don’t really know yet how much that’s under our control, or how much we can make it grow in directions we want it to grow in.

But, my point remains, throw out religion and just think in terms of what you’d want from the system administrator of the world – and whether you’d want God to be more than that, and if so, what more? There’s a interesting intersection between freedom and safety there – your perfect safety experience keeps you on rails and can’t go anywhere unexpected, while your perfect freedom experience can end very badly.

More later.

Morality and dieties

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

So, one of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is how unreasonable and unethical God’s behavior is in the book of Job. It’s actually a long term set of thoughts, and it’s not entirely a academic discussion for me because I’m playing with genetic algorithms and artificial neural networks.

You don’t own a life form independent of you just because you created it. I grant you that humans generally behave as if we do – we believe we own our children until they’re 18 and we often treat them pretty badly. There are *starting* to be some people who ask the hard questions concerning our experiments in artificial neural networks – certainly “The Measure Of A Man”, a episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation – does a good job of discussing the problem.

And, it’s true, in general Christians seem to believe it’s reasonable for God to judge them and large portions of them think it’s reasonable for God to punish or reward – sometimes based on whether or not you say the magic name or think the magic thoughts. The idea of people being considered not worthy if they happen to not pick right from a plethora of competing religions is horrifying and yet many Christians defend this clearly awful behavior that they ascribe to God.

It is reasonable for the group to protect itself from the bad behavior of individuals. It is not reasonable for a diety, who can never be threatened by any of their creations, to punish and reward. I’m not sure what the solution is, but it is clear to me God’s defense “Where were you when I made the mountains” is totally inadequate and in fact generally nonsensical – it’s not likely to be what a deity would say because it represents a human-centric way of thinking both about time and about the interconnectedness of all things.

In any case, the behavior of JHVH in Job is worse than the behavior of Satan. The behavior is horrifying, and maybe that’s the point of the book, to help us understand how evil God is. People are not interchangeable. You can’t kill off all of someone’s loved ones and give them new ones and expect them not to be badly damaged. And you *shouldn’t* test individuals to destruction – remember this is the very God who says “Don’t you dare test the lord your god”. If it’s not moral to test God, it’s not moral for God to test us.

It does bring up a interesting question – is morality the same for us and for God? After all, God might well be able to see multidimensional patterns we can’t see – certainly would know the answers to questions we don’t know the answers to. On the other paw, given that power corrupts – and power tends to damage neural networks in ways that make them abusive – see recent police abuses of power for example, as well as many, many, many other examples of people who are empowered becoming abusive – one has to ask, if God is a neural network, is God so damaged as to be fundamentally broken and likely continuously evil?

I’ve talked before on whether there’s a maximum size of neural network that is even stable. One thing we may be in the process of learning right now is that there’s a maximum size of neural network that can survive without destroying itself. And of course I tend to think JHVH is a fictional character invented to enable the powers that be to more easily control the population – but if JHVH existed, they *still* might be dead. And we might well tell ourselves we are hearing JHVH (or Allah, or what have you) even though they don’t really exist, because neural networks that are entrained in a pattern definitely can produce signal that is representative of that pattern.

Anyway, my underlying point is, being a God doesn’t automatically make everything you do moral, and it’s fraught with opportunities to commit immoral acts. In general giving people power tends to lead them away from empathy and towards being cruel and/or power-seeking. There are some obvious counter-examples, but they are not in the majority.

One of the things that scares me most about Christians is their “God is a 800 lb monkey and therefore anything he does must be right and I’m going to try to uphold his will even if it means murder and mayhem”. That the Christians started the crusades tells me a lot about them, and I in general continue to think the religion should be struck in favor of one that we develop in modern times with stated goals that we can all agree on. Of course, it would be nice to understand enough about how our minds work that we can author software for them that will do good things.

The Atari 2600

Friday, June 26th, 2020

So, while a lot of the roots of modern computing hardware can be traced to the Commodore Amiga, and a lot of the roots of modern software can be traced to Xerox Parc (along with modern networking), pretty much nothing can be traced to the Atari 2600 – and yet, it was one of the most influential computing systems of the 20th century.

The design of the 2600 can best be destribed as ‘cheap’. It’s kind of extrordinary to think that the system had so little memory that it could not even represent the first paragraph of this blog entry in RAM. I had wristwatches in the 80s that had more RAM than the 2600. It also lacked a lot in custom chips – there wasn’t a framebuffer, or a blitter, or.. much of anything, really. The CPU spent its time ‘racing the beam’ – taking advantage of the ‘downtime’ in NTSC while the electron beam swept back up to the top of the screen to do any computing needed to keep track of things like score counters or player sprite position (heh heh sprite yah right!) and focing all the effort of the CPU on actually driving the display while the beam was sweeping across the phosphers.

What the 2600 mostly gave us was A: a set of developers who could code for *anything* and B: a entire generation of people who learned that computers could be fun. The 2600 was so cheap that almost everyone either had one or knew someone who did, and it was small and light enough to be passed around amongst circles of friends. It had some surprisingly playable games for such a unenviable piece of hardware, which mostly speaks to just how dedicated humans are when it comes to entertainment. If we put the kind of effort into ceasing war and arranging for love for everyone that we put into moving little pixels around on screens we’d already be living in a utopia. For that matter, I feel pretty sure that if the people who designed some of the later game consoles (like the PS3 and the Wii) were permitted to design a economic system we would no longer have any reasonable reason to have wars.

It is pretty astonishing both how far we’ve come in terms of computing in the last 50 years and how far we haven’t come in terms of political systems. We are still just fine with a president who lies several times a speech, almost half of us still believe that helping people out is a sign of mental illness but lying in order to start wars isn’t..

I think the problem is that democracy is limited to the average intelligence of the group, whereas things like the 2600 – well, computers in general – are driven by the brightest and best. And I also suspect that various organizations – especially “news” organizations like Fox that have heavily spun news and outright fiction in order to fit people’s preconceived notions and make them feel good about voting for the death of their fellow man – pander to the lowest common denominator and try to drive it ever lower.

I can’t help but wonder, though, whether our votes are actually counted at all. The powers that be could have a hybrid paper/blockchain system that would let us all check the aggregation and also look for signs of malfeasance, but they have chosen to go with easily-hackable digital voting machines instead. Normally I tend to look down on conspiracies and “the illuminati are ruling us all” because honestly, Earth does not look that organized. On the other paw, it *really* seems like we should be further along than we are. So maybe the 20-yacht club, who love it when the cops kill the lowly peons because it makes them feel powerful, are in fact leaving us the *illusion* of voting to keep us from rebelling, but actually installing whoever they want whenever they want.

On the other paw, assigning a *toddler* the nuclear launch codes, which is what clearly has been done most recently, doesn’t make sense under *any* scenario I can think of. So maybe I’m just stuck in a video game and don’t know it. Or I’m hallucinating a mile a minute.

A few more notes about the CRJ and cops

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

So, my suspicion is that those of you who are conservatives who are defending the police have not had the direct experience of having cops aim guns at you, cops threaten to beat you, cops physically hurt you for not kowtowing fast enough. I have had all those experiences. I have had police come to my door and threaten to beat me because they thought I was squatting in a house I was legitimately renting, for example.

And I also think you’re not thinking about how you’d feel if it was your child, or your wife, or your friend who was gunned down by the police either because they executed a no-knock warrant at the wrong address or because they just decided that that particular person looked threatening. Our police are out of control – as we’ve seen from how they treated protesters, they are *eager* to tear gas, *eager* to shoot rubber bullets, and totally willing to lie about how the protesters were throwing objects in order to justify it. We’ve seen our guardians slash tires, plant evidence, break windows, incite riots..

I think if it had been you, you’d understand the anger of all these people who *it has been*. They’ve ruined people’s lives over bullshit and trivia, over and over. They’ve murdered with impunity. They’ve abused their authority over and over.

At this point I think the system needs disassembled and replaced, and we need to be data-driven and result-driven when we do this. We need to stop thinking that punishing is *ever* a good thing, for example. A eye for a eye just makes everybody blind, and the actual guilty parties are probably usually so far back in history that there’s no way to even know who they are, much less enact any sort of revenge upon them.

I don’t know how we get from our current situation to something less dystopian, but I suspect some of it involves taking a deep breath and not acting from anger, either towards the police or from the police towards the citizens. It also involves recognizing that the bosses who stand on the necks of us all need disempowered – they have already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t have the best interests of humanity at heart. And I think Trump demonstrates that the same processes that make billionares also, at least some of the time, make profoundly broken people.

Reminder about the ‘Tinfoil Hat’ category

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Posts marked ‘Tinfoil hat’ are to be taken with at least a few grains of salt. They may not represent the beliefs of my mind as a whole but rather just the beliefs of certain subnets, or they may represent beliefs I hold which I think are contradictory, illogical, or unreasonable.

More on conservatism

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

So, I understand the urge to save what’s good about a society – and after all as I’ve talked about elsewhere we must all have conservative neurons or we wouldn’t function, so there is certainly a *type* of conservatism that isn’t wrong and stupid. It’s just not the type we currently have. (You can almost say that the way our experiences become hardwired in a way that makes deletion incredibly difficult is a way that our entire brain is inherently conservative of experience, and that is also a desirable thing)

You can also quite rightly accuse me of being *incredibly* conservative – after all, I test every operating system update and will often refuse to install further upgrades once the operating system appears to be declining instead of advancing. I insist on rigorous tests before performing system upgrades, be they hardware or software. I like to have several backup plans based on most probable things going wrong at all times. And so on.

If ‘conservatives’ were conservative in the way I’m conservative about installing software, I’d welcome them and say they perform a very desirable role. The problem is, what we actually have is they are either A: in love with 1800 and want to go back or B: in love with paper money and willing to destroy real value in order to make more of it or C: in love with war and willing to kill millions of innocents – originally over things as stupid as whether we should be collectivist or individualist – not here in America, but whether other countries were allowed to try out collectivism – but now, even worse, just over lies and in order to make more money. (Weapons of mass destruction, anyone?)

Part of what’s alarming is that the conservative electorate appears to have no memory. Their side lies to them and kills millions of people but all they can do is pull the lever next to the conservative party because they’re afraid some bum somewhere will get some of their money. We’ve spent far more on our idiotic wars over resource system ideology – and destroyed trillions worth of resources, making the human race as a whole poorer – than we ever will giving someone food or a place to live.

Of course, some of this is that the powers that be have figured out how to manipulate the emotions and thinking of a conservative voter. (probably of a liberal voter and a progressive voter as well.. we’re all at risk of being brainwashed.. but it doesn’t irritate me nearly as much when millions of people aren’t being killed).

For example, they’ve sold some really insane thinking over the issue of abortion. Clearly if you believe in God you should A: notice that abortions happen spontaneously even without human help and B: conclude that God presumably has a perl script in place to route souls only to bodies that are going to be extant. If you don’t believe in God, then that is a blank tape, a empty neural net. But I digress. The point is, the conservatives grab the single issue voters who somehow don’t notice that they murder millions. They’ve got several different single issues that push people’s buttons – and *both* sides of the aisle write emails that are loaded with emotionally laden symbols and are trying to push people’s buttons as hard as humanly possible.

Now, if anyone wants to argue that both sides are corrupt, I agree. We need to not have a two party system.. among other things, with a two party system, the only people you can hire when you kick the bums out are the other bums. It’s great for crony capitalism and corruption, not so good for doing a good job at running things.

Anyway, the basic thesis behind conservatism is that the future isn’t going to be better than the past. That we shouldn’t try new things and see which ones work. Beyond that there’s also the thesis that there isn’t enough and won’t be enough and we need to make sure that everyone who isn’t putting their back into it starves. There’s also the thesis that we need to make sure the bosses are able to make everyone who is putting their back into it barely get by while the bosses have multiple yachts.

Now, we’ve reached the point where I actively loathe the right. Part of this is the posting by the president to a link to a video that says “the only good democrat is a dead democrat”. It’s very difficult for me to not be upset by this – I guess I thought the president was supposed to at least *try* to be the leader of everybody, not just his or her chosen party, and was supposed to consider the points of view of everybody. I would say that I pretty much want the GOP to cease existing at this point and be replaced by two different (or more) right wing parties. Of course, I’d also like the Democrats to *stop being a right wing party*. It also makes me wonder how many of my conservative friends think the world would be a better place if I was no longer in it.

I am pretty amazed at how effective brand loyalty is. I have conservative friends who are defending Trump even as he robs America blind and destroys everything. I am fairly sure if they had been told he was a Democrat, they would be attempting assassination by now. But, they believe he’s part of their tribe, one of their brand, so they are carefully blind to his awfulnes. There’s probably a interesting lesson about input filters and brand loyalty here, which perhaps I will find later.

I think part of the problem is that we should be insisting on everything being evidence based and data driven, but we instead would rather push for our ideologies even when they do not align with the data and fail reality testing. But one of the interesting things that happens is our view of reality bends with our beliefs so it’s actually kind of hard to know whether we’re being even remotely objective or not.